Saturday, April 21, 2007

Why the Zimmers intrigue me...

So did you check out the video? I hope so. Why do I love this? As someone who works with elders every day, I see this as an opportunity to demonstrate to the world that simply because of advanced age, with a decline in "beauty and ability", we are all still human adults who can have fun, and be joyous. What the Zimmers have done is thumb their nose at the social views of what "old people" should be doing, or how they should be acting. Which one of us secretly wouldn't love to be doing what they just did at 90? I think this is yet another example of how our social norms about aging are going to become extinct and we are going to be seeing this video and other types of media that will question our beliefs and opinions of aging. Do not patronize me, do not label me, do not categorize me simply because I am older then you...

The Zimmers

Absolutely love what they are doing! Hope you find it inspiring and thought provoking!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Paying For My Care

As a gen-xer; I have come to the realization that I will be in the bottom of the medicare money bucket scraping up pennies when I turn 65. In fact, if you speak with people my age we will tell you that we a. don't think there will be social security there for us; b. that we will have to depend on our siblings, or young children to care for us and c. that health care cost is the biggest issue facing our country today. So what's a girl to do?

I sit up many a sleepless night wondering about this. Yeah I know, I don't get out much...But in my sleepless nights I keep coming back to solutions. None of them great, but a few that I think are realistic and could work...Interested? read on.

My first thought to this problem, is that politically, our legislative powers that be, are fearful of calling social security a tax. Truly it is a tax, I refer to it as the elder tax, the money I pay in but will never see tax. We all know that what we are currently paying in is not even covering the current costs of medicare, social security and the like. My solution? Call it a tax and keep it as a tax until we complete the next portion of my solution. My generation will be known as the generation who paid for health care, but we could also be known as the generation who saves a on.

So, I have defined social security as a tax. let's just accept it as a tax, keep taxing ourselves until the current enrollees are no longer on the payroll. Now, let's add a health care account/retirement account that we are forced to place a percentage of our money into, but let's not let the government get their greedy hands into it. In fact, let's make it 100% tax deductible, and give the taxpayer the option of coverage, IE; for x amount of dollars you get x amount of paid care/retirement after age 68. Then, let's privatize it. Put the program out to bid, and we as tax payers get to chose where our money is going. They should be low/medium risk investments that are insured. If we phased this idea in over a 20 year period, for those currently close to social security age, we could design it to be a joint investment with social security. Ideally, social security taxes could be repealed/lessened over time as more taxpayers are paying into their own retirement accounts.

I have all sorts of ideas about this. If we made it 100% tax deductible, those on the lower economic end could end up paying no tax. Those on the higher end could be capped at what amount they pay in. And, if it does not get used by the payer, it could be transferred to a spouse/surviving child account, and a percentage forfeited; similar to current social security programs, but privately managed. If I buy a low end program, then I get the bare necessities when I am old. If I buy the high end, then I should have more options available to me. At a minimum the program should cover medications with a small co-pay, hospitalization with a limit, and some skilled care, with some additional basic care services.

Another idea; If I as a grandparent/or asset bearing adult chose to give money to an account for a child or grandchild, I should be able to do so and have it be 100% tax deductible. I can think of no better gift from a deceased relative then the peace of mind that my retirement health care is covered.

I am sure that there a thousand reasons why this would not work; but i can think of a thousand ideas that would. The purpose of this post is to generate ideas. Grass roots ideas often have the greatest impact on history, lets start a little retirement revolution of sorts and make your governing powers realize that we have solutions, they need to listen. After all ...

We need to become personally responsible and accountable for our aging. The idea that the government should care for us is wrong. Have we forgotten that we are the government?